Fuel and Convenience


Customer Experience

Sweeten the deal this summer with ice cream at the C-store

Ice cream was the big winner at the C-store during Summer 2022. Will this year be a repeat? With budgets tightening due to inflation, make sure you're positioned to serve up a strategy that responds to your local market.

Can ice cream continue its big impact? 

Consumers scream for ice cream. As a member of the frozen foods category, ice cream offers both convenience and value at the C-store. In general, frozen food products come with a longer shelf life, and depending on the brand, an easier price point for C-store shoppers. Ice cream’s popularity with consumers hasn’t just boosted sales—it has moved forward the entire C-store image. Anne-Marie Roerink, principal at 210 Analytics, credits ice cream and frozen novelties as the “flagship offering” that helped C-stores evolve past their “gasoline, cigarettes, soda and beer” core pillars for driving foot traffic. 

But despite ice cream’s recent success, inflation-driven prices are likely to slow some of the booming sales of last summer. The C-store in particular is feeling the squeeze more than non-C-store competitors. Ice cream/sherbet units are down 3% over the last year, compared to a 6% decrease for C-stores.

Consumer preferences 

C-stores still have the opportunity to serve up value with their product assortment. Stuart Common, managing director at Mackieś of Scotland, recommends focusing on variety, availability and communicating promotions. Before you can make decisions around inventory and promotions, however, you need to understand your local market’s specific needs. Frozen novelties, after all, come with their own nuances as far as consumer behaviors and preferences.

Daypart plays a big role

According to the International Dairy Foods Association, two out of three consumers eat ice cream at night.

Options are everything

Much like with pizza, the feeling of having options is important to consumers. Magnum Minis, which offer more portions, grew 8.3% faster than the category. This summer, the brand plans to offer a Mini Caramel Multipack Collection as well.

The more unique, the better

Unique offerings like Ben & Jerry’s Topped, Haagen-Daz Butter Cookie cones and mochi ice cream have also performed well. 

Don’t forget the vegan option

Variety can also include non-dairy options, like NadaMoo! Frozen Snack Bites.

Maximize sales this summer with 1P data

If you want to keep up the sweet momentum from last summer, it’s critical to apply these trends to your local market. Price sensitivity, for example, is an extremely important factor given the impact of inflation on recent frozen novelty sales. Insights on frequency, daypart, brand loyalty, SKU-level purchase history and more will help complete the picture of how, when and what your shoppers want to buy as related to ice cream.

If you’re thinking of launching a retail media network, these insights are even more critical to a successful partnership with an ice cream brand.

You can also use store insights to place in-store signage and interactive elements. In the case of mochi ice cream, some C-stores utilize freezers with small video screens, introducing an in-store advertising opportunity. 

In order to gather this information, you need to be able to identify the individual behind in-store transactions. Historically, brick-and-mortar operations like the C-store have struggled to do this given POS system limitations and privacy regulations. An offline identity resolution solution can help you identify shoppers in a privacy-safe way.

By shoring up as many first-party insights as possible and enriching them with second and third-party data sources, you can begin to build privacy-safe, verified longitudinal profiles on all your shoppers – then personalize your ice cream strategy according to the needs and preferences of your local market.

Start today with Bridg

Take advantage of our exclusive offline identity resolution solution to start identifying and engaging your in-store shoppers. Plus, get the granular insights you need to meet your shoppers’ every ice cream need. 

We build dynamic campaign audiences that draw from over 300 attributes, including purchase history, demographics, and socioeconomic and lifestyle factors so you can personalize based on actual purchases, preferred items, frequency, price sensitivity, promotional history, daypart and channel preferences. Contact us today to learn more. 

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